Grapes on the vine at Mount Pleasant Estate
The raw goods at Mount Pleasant Estate, one of Missouri’s established wineries

Filled to the Rim

Which was the nation’s first designated viticultural area? That would be in and around Augusta, Missouri, recognized in 1980 by the federal government as a region dedicated to growing grapes for wine. The northeastern Missouri countryside—through the towns of Defiance, Dutzow, and Marthasville—is rich with vineyards and historical attractions, enough to make a two-day weekend of it. Among the places worth investigating:

  • The Yellow Farmhouse Winery (100 Defiance Rd. at Rte. 94, Defiance, 314-409-6139, covers 10 acres of hillside overlooking the Missouri River and sells picnic supplies should you want to enjoy a rustic meal with a river view. Many visitors climb the gentle slope to dine al fresco on “Picnic Hill” and complement their meal with a stop at the wine garden halfway up the hill.
  • Blumenhof Vineyards (13699 Rte. 94, Dutzow, 800-419-2245, lies in Missouri’s oldest German community (German settlers founded Dutzow in 1832).
  • The Augusta Winery (5601 High St., 888-667-9463, offers cheese and sausage in addition to award-winning wines, which can be sampled on an outdoor terrace. Visit the winery’s Owl’s Nest, where you can take wine tasting courses.
  • Also in Augusta, Mount Pleasant Estates (5634 High St., 636-482-9463, has been pressing grapes since 1859; its original limestone cellars are still used to age port and wine. Today, the 78-acre vineyard grows a dozen grape varieties and offers tasting and dining options on the estate.

GO Northeastern Missouri Wine Trail, 573-526-5900,

Where to stay: The Augusta Wine Country Inn  (5619 5th St., 636-482-4307, has suites in walking distance of Augusta Wineries and shops; rates range from $140 to $160 a night. The Concord Hill Bed and Breakfast (16469 Concord Hill Rd., Marthasville, 636-782-2042, has its own wine cellar and three guest rooms in a refurbished 1900s farmhouse; rates are $125 per night.

Where to eat: The Montelle Winery and Klondike Café (201 Montelle Dr., 636-228-4464, offers classic wraps, sandwiches, picnic platters, and selections from its well stocked wine cellar. The Augusta Brewing Company and Restaurant (5521 Water St., 636-482-2337, is adjacent to the biking and hiking friendly Katy Trail and serves lunch, dinner, and craft beer.


Photograph: Courtesy of Mount Pleasant Estate